Remember Afghanistan?

Taxes. Deficits. Unemployment. Wall Street. Abortion. Gaffes. Jokes. Fashion. Sports. All of these things are being given more attention in America right now, by our presidential candidates and our media and ourselves, than a place called Afghanistan. Remember that place?

Two thousand Americans have died in Afghanistan now. (And how many civilians? "[Estimates] typically reach well beyond 100,000.") Two thousand is a nice round number, a news peg, an occasion to write a story. Most of those stories—just like this one—will point out that, in the normal course of things these days, nobody really cares about Afghanistan any more.

"America's forgotten war," says the AP, "even though more than 80,000 American troops are still fighting here and dying at a rate of one a day." Corporate class soothsayer Thomas Friedman today named the "four great issues of the day" that should be animating the presidential campaigns; foreign policy did not even make the list, much less Afghanistan itself. Perhaps it doesn't matter. Both Obama and Romney say they will stay in Afghanistan for at least two more years. Why even bring it up? As the CSM says, "There is little difference between their positions on Afghanistan."

Apart from defense contractors and the friends and family members of military personnel, nobody really cares about Afghanistan, despite the fact that everyone should. Virtually no one can articulate what "victory" there would mean any longer. Even the convenient, shallow "get bin Laden" excuse isn't available any more. So, for years to come, young Americans will continue to fight, and civilians will continue to try to function, and both will continue to die, in a faraway country that none of us know or care about, and that has nothing of vital interest to America, and that has proven, over and over again, that it does not appreciate muscular foreign intervention in its affairs.

Just get out. Get out, get out of Afghanistan, America. The public could not care less. But it would at least allow some men and women to live, who would otherwise die. That's enough. War, and killing, and occupation, and death should be subjected to highest hurdles of justification, always, and the moment they do not meet that bar, they should be ended at once. War is not a proper default setting. Get out.

[Photo: AP]